Motorcyclist Michael Birt, who was killed in crash at Gravel Hill, was more than twice over legal alcohol limit, inquest hears

TRAGEDY: Michael Birt

TRAGEDY: Michael Birt

First published in News by

A MOTORCYCLIST killed in a morning rush hour crash had an alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, an inquest heard.

Michael Birt’s blood alcohol level was at a “level consistent with drunkenness” prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset, to warn others about its effects.

“There is a reason for the drink drive limit and that is even more relevant when people are riding motorcycles,” he said. “It can lead to impaired concentration, impaired response and balance problems.”

Accident investigator PC Andrew Gold told the Bournemouth inquest: “The effects of such levels of alcohol would have had a detrimental effect on the rider’s ability to perform the task of riding.”

The inquest heard how the 41-year-old father-of-three was overtaking a line of traffic on his Yamaha 125 motorbike when he clipped a van before veering across the road into the path of an oncoming 26-tonne beer lorry.

The head-on collision led to his crash helmet flying off and he died shortly afterwards.

Witness Matthew Northam told Mr Payne: “I remember thinking there was not enough room for the bike to overtake there.” Another witness, David Clark, said he did not believe the rider’s actions were safe.

The collision happened at 7.45am on Tuesday, October 22 at Gravel Hill, at its junction with Queen Anne Drive in Poole. Mr Birt, of Denmark Road, Poole, a delivery driver, was on his way to work when the accident took place.

His widow, Suzanne, said her husband had been drinking on the afternoon of Sunday October 20 and had had “a couple of glasses” of wine the night before the crash.

Tests revealed he had a blood alcohol level of 160 – the legal limit for driving is 80 – and he died of internal injuries due to blunt trauma. A pathologist said: “The level of alcohol detected is consistent with intoxication and would be consistent with drunkenness.”

Mr Payne recorded a verdict that he died as a result of a collision on the road.

Comments (22)

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7:01am Fri 16 May 14

High Treason says...

What a waste of life and avoidable grief for his family. But many still drink and drive and in this case perhaps he thought he was OK after a nights sleep. The fact he was a delivery driver makes me think a chance of a bigger accident when out doing deliveries.
What a waste of life and avoidable grief for his family. But many still drink and drive and in this case perhaps he thought he was OK after a nights sleep. The fact he was a delivery driver makes me think a chance of a bigger accident when out doing deliveries. High Treason
  • Score: 28

7:36am Fri 16 May 14

Matthew_Y says...

I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.
I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque. Matthew_Y
  • Score: 49

7:49am Fri 16 May 14

Huey says...

Hardly surprising given the suicidal way so many bikers ride. I think many have a death wish.
Hardly surprising given the suicidal way so many bikers ride. I think many have a death wish. Huey
  • Score: -34

8:04am Fri 16 May 14

djd says...

Matthew_Y wrote:
I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.
Yes, I admire him for working rather than living off the State.
But how irresponsible can you get? He puts his life in danger, the lives of other road users and put his family through untold pain and grief because he was drinking and driving.
With a reading so high he was either an alcoholice or knew full well that he was not fit it drive. He knew he had to work the next day, he was a professional driver, he knew the implications of drink driving yet he still got on his motorcycle to go to work where he would have driven in his employment.
It's always so sad when people are unnecessarily killed in collisions, but who is to blame?
[quote][p][bold]Matthew_Y[/bold] wrote: I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.[/p][/quote]Yes, I admire him for working rather than living off the State. But how irresponsible can you get? He puts his life in danger, the lives of other road users and put his family through untold pain and grief because he was drinking and driving. With a reading so high he was either an alcoholice or knew full well that he was not fit it drive. He knew he had to work the next day, he was a professional driver, he knew the implications of drink driving yet he still got on his motorcycle to go to work where he would have driven in his employment. It's always so sad when people are unnecessarily killed in collisions, but who is to blame? djd
  • Score: 47

9:03am Fri 16 May 14

smhinto says...

To be that far over the limit the next morning, I believe that he had a bit more than a couple of glasses of wine, as stated in the report, the night before.
To be that far over the limit the next morning, I believe that he had a bit more than a couple of glasses of wine, as stated in the report, the night before. smhinto
  • Score: 37

9:18am Fri 16 May 14

Old Colonial says...

My real sympathies go to the driver of the lorry. He will live with the image of the incident for a long, long time.
My real sympathies go to the driver of the lorry. He will live with the image of the incident for a long, long time. Old Colonial
  • Score: 69

9:36am Fri 16 May 14

Pawnstrar says...

Huey wrote:
Hardly surprising given the suicidal way so many bikers ride. I think many have a death wish.
THAT COMMENT IS TOTALLY OUT OF ORDER. Most bikers are ordinary family folk and we don't have a death wish.
I think you should remove that comment and get out into the real world
Sorry to the family if they see comments like that from some keyboard worrior
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Hardly surprising given the suicidal way so many bikers ride. I think many have a death wish.[/p][/quote]THAT COMMENT IS TOTALLY OUT OF ORDER. Most bikers are ordinary family folk and we don't have a death wish. I think you should remove that comment and get out into the real world Sorry to the family if they see comments like that from some keyboard worrior Pawnstrar
  • Score: -4

9:59am Fri 16 May 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset,
.....

Really, I see mo Payne pic.



I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.
prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset, ..... Really, I see mo Payne pic. I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: -19

10:46am Fri 16 May 14

speedy231278 says...

Sir Beachy Head wrote:
prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset,
.....

Really, I see mo Payne pic.



I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.
What difference does the type of bike make?
[quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset, ..... Really, I see mo Payne pic. I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.[/p][/quote]What difference does the type of bike make? speedy231278
  • Score: 28

10:54am Fri 16 May 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

speedy231278 wrote:
Sir Beachy Head wrote:
prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset,
.....

Really, I see mo Payne pic.



I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.
What difference does the type of bike make?
Well, anyone who has passed a test and holds a full group A licence and can ride any CC size bike is a far better and responsible rider than a random commuter type with L plates that usually only ride a small bike as they can't afford to run a car.
[quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset, ..... Really, I see mo Payne pic. I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.[/p][/quote]What difference does the type of bike make?[/p][/quote]Well, anyone who has passed a test and holds a full group A licence and can ride any CC size bike is a far better and responsible rider than a random commuter type with L plates that usually only ride a small bike as they can't afford to run a car. Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: -20

11:09am Fri 16 May 14

Franks Tank says...

Sir Beachy Head wrote:
speedy231278 wrote:
Sir Beachy Head wrote:
prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset,
.....

Really, I see mo Payne pic.



I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.
What difference does the type of bike make?
Well, anyone who has passed a test and holds a full group A licence and can ride any CC size bike is a far better and responsible rider than a random commuter type with L plates that usually only ride a small bike as they can't afford to run a car.
That could sound a bit elitist.
You ever wondered why people with an interest in cycling get annoyed when they are lumped together with a chav on a BMX riding on the pavement?
[quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]speedy231278[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sir Beachy Head[/bold] wrote: prompting Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne, pictured inset, ..... Really, I see mo Payne pic. I will say that bikers have far more respect for obeying the drink drive law than car drivers. This is a rare case. But, I don't consider a 125CC rider to be a 'biker' he was probably a learner as well.[/p][/quote]What difference does the type of bike make?[/p][/quote]Well, anyone who has passed a test and holds a full group A licence and can ride any CC size bike is a far better and responsible rider than a random commuter type with L plates that usually only ride a small bike as they can't afford to run a car.[/p][/quote]That could sound a bit elitist. You ever wondered why people with an interest in cycling get annoyed when they are lumped together with a chav on a BMX riding on the pavement? Franks Tank
  • Score: 17

12:02pm Fri 16 May 14

Letcommonsenseprevail says...

Huey wrote:
Hardly surprising given the suicidal way so many bikers ride. I think many have a death wish.
You idiot.
[quote][p][bold]Huey[/bold] wrote: Hardly surprising given the suicidal way so many bikers ride. I think many have a death wish.[/p][/quote]You idiot. Letcommonsenseprevail
  • Score: -7

12:07pm Fri 16 May 14

kalebmoledirt says...

very sad for all concerned.that includes the driver of the truck that like the rider was just going about earning a living .Must say glade to see the journalist seems to have shown more compassion for this family and not shown a picture of a beer bottle or lorry.unlike her crass picture of a jar of onions
very sad for all concerned.that includes the driver of the truck that like the rider was just going about earning a living .Must say glade to see the journalist seems to have shown more compassion for this family and not shown a picture of a beer bottle or lorry.unlike her crass picture of a jar of onions kalebmoledirt
  • Score: 9

1:00pm Fri 16 May 14

Branksome snail says...

Matthew_Y wrote:
I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.
'sleeping on into the morning etc etc......'
whats your point?

So if it was a person on benefits, you would say, "oh well.... he was on benefits anyway" would you?

Honestly, the way people spin things out of stories to get your little gripes across...its pathetic, obvious, and distasteful.

Im sure peoples loved ones love the comments that come up in this paper.

41 year old father of three. Three childrens lives ruined, probably devastated family and friends. 41 years until a day of a probable stupid decision, and one person on this thread says no sympathy, and basically better off dead.

Unbelievable
[quote][p][bold]Matthew_Y[/bold] wrote: I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.[/p][/quote]'sleeping on into the morning etc etc......' whats your point? So if it was a person on benefits, you would say, "oh well.... he was on benefits anyway" would you? Honestly, the way people spin things out of stories to get your little gripes across...its pathetic, obvious, and distasteful. Im sure peoples loved ones love the comments that come up in this paper. 41 year old father of three. Three childrens lives ruined, probably devastated family and friends. 41 years until a day of a probable stupid decision, and one person on this thread says no sympathy, and basically better off dead. Unbelievable Branksome snail
  • Score: 2

4:42pm Fri 16 May 14

Fred21 says...

Irresponsible selfish idiot!
Let's be thankful he only killed himself.
Irresponsible selfish idiot! Let's be thankful he only killed himself. Fred21
  • Score: 12

6:14pm Fri 16 May 14

alasdair1967 says...

A sad and needless avoidable death . How ever the frightening thing is he was on his way to work drunk to start a days work driving ! Yes I like a drink on Sunday afternoons with friends but I know when to stop especially if I'm in work the following day , as I said a sad and needless death
A sad and needless avoidable death . How ever the frightening thing is he was on his way to work drunk to start a days work driving ! Yes I like a drink on Sunday afternoons with friends but I know when to stop especially if I'm in work the following day , as I said a sad and needless death alasdair1967
  • Score: 10

7:18pm Fri 16 May 14

SympatheticSam says...

Who would have thought it, a motorcyclist breaking the law. I thought I would never see the day.

Next you'll be telling me cyclists jump red lights.


Oh.
Who would have thought it, a motorcyclist breaking the law. I thought I would never see the day. Next you'll be telling me cyclists jump red lights. Oh. SympatheticSam
  • Score: -1

8:14pm Fri 16 May 14

JackJohnson says...

Branksome snail wrote:
Matthew_Y wrote:
I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.
'sleeping on into the morning etc etc......'
whats your point?

So if it was a person on benefits, you would say, "oh well.... he was on benefits anyway" would you?

Honestly, the way people spin things out of stories to get your little gripes across...its pathetic, obvious, and distasteful.

Im sure peoples loved ones love the comments that come up in this paper.

41 year old father of three. Three childrens lives ruined, probably devastated family and friends. 41 years until a day of a probable stupid decision, and one person on this thread says no sympathy, and basically better off dead.

Unbelievable
It was me who stated I have no sympathy for him, but I certainly did not state that he's 'basically better off dead'.

FWIW: I do think he'd have been better off knowing when to stop getting himself bladdered, or when not to sit his sorry a**e on a motorcycle putting himself and others at risk - or when not to go to work as a driver when he's not fit to do his job. Too late now, though. It was his life to throw away if he so wished, so why should anyone have any sympathy for him? He made an incredibly foolish mistake and paid the ultimate price for it. I'm just relieved he didn't take anyone else with him.
[quote][p][bold]Branksome snail[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Matthew_Y[/bold] wrote: I'm sure no one will try and justify the actions of an intoxicated road user, but lets not overlook the fact that a family man, a father and husband, lost his life on his way to do a days work, instead of sleeping on into the morning waiting for a benefit cheque.[/p][/quote]'sleeping on into the morning etc etc......' whats your point? So if it was a person on benefits, you would say, "oh well.... he was on benefits anyway" would you? Honestly, the way people spin things out of stories to get your little gripes across...its pathetic, obvious, and distasteful. Im sure peoples loved ones love the comments that come up in this paper. 41 year old father of three. Three childrens lives ruined, probably devastated family and friends. 41 years until a day of a probable stupid decision, and one person on this thread says no sympathy, and basically better off dead. Unbelievable[/p][/quote]It was me who stated I have no sympathy for him, but I certainly did not state that he's 'basically better off dead'. FWIW: I do think he'd have been better off knowing when to stop getting himself bladdered, or when not to sit his sorry a**e on a motorcycle putting himself and others at risk - or when not to go to work as a driver when he's not fit to do his job. Too late now, though. It was his life to throw away if he so wished, so why should anyone have any sympathy for him? He made an incredibly foolish mistake and paid the ultimate price for it. I'm just relieved he didn't take anyone else with him. JackJohnson
  • Score: 11

8:47pm Fri 16 May 14

fireflier says...

Time these race-tuned machines were de-rated with both speed and acceleration limited.
Some of the bikers I see are acting like two-wheeled cruise missiles They just see a small window of open road and blast their way into it. Many don't have the conditions or timing to cope with anything untoward that may happen.
Time these race-tuned machines were de-rated with both speed and acceleration limited. Some of the bikers I see are acting like two-wheeled cruise missiles They just see a small window of open road and blast their way into it. Many don't have the conditions or timing to cope with anything untoward that may happen. fireflier
  • Score: 4

3:43am Sat 17 May 14

Linguist says...

Think once, think twice, think stupid bloody biker weaving in and out of the traffic. Try teaching motorcyclists how to drive safely then making millions of safe car drivers having to look out for loony bikers, every hour of every day on our roads. I'm fed up with having to move to the left to avoid a motorbike, when i'm already on MY side of the road when driving along the wessex way
Think once, think twice, think stupid bloody biker weaving in and out of the traffic. Try teaching motorcyclists how to drive safely then making millions of safe car drivers having to look out for loony bikers, every hour of every day on our roads. I'm fed up with having to move to the left to avoid a motorbike, when i'm already on MY side of the road when driving along the wessex way Linguist
  • Score: 8

9:19am Sat 17 May 14

breamoreboy says...

A tragic incident caused by somebody once again underestimating the effect that alcohol has on your system.

To me it's made far worse by some of the appallingly insensitive comments that have been made.
A tragic incident caused by somebody once again underestimating the effect that alcohol has on your system. To me it's made far worse by some of the appallingly insensitive comments that have been made. breamoreboy
  • Score: 1

8:45am Wed 21 May 14

Avengerboy says...

So no alcohol intake for 9 hours, just what was in his system, more research required before words like 'drunkenness' are attributed to crash victims.
So no alcohol intake for 9 hours, just what was in his system, more research required before words like 'drunkenness' are attributed to crash victims. Avengerboy
  • Score: 0

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